Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Battle of the tank: which class is the best tank.

Ok, so you all have seen trade chat or even had conversations with guildies or friends on this subject.  Everyone in game knows that this has been a heated topic for years and will continue to be as long as the WoW servers are up.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you have probably just started playing or been living under a rock.  What is the question?  Here it is, which tanking class is the best. We all hear the tank of paladins being on top.  At the moment, some say it is Death Knights that are the best tanks.  Here, I will answer this long asked question once and for all.

The best tanking class is:  Feral Druids.

Ok, just kidding.  Actually, there is no one answer to this question.  No matter what people may say, there is absolutely no one tank designed to do it all and do it perfectly. Blizzard just did not deign the tanking classes that way, and for good reason.

So, let me explain why this is.  First off, if one tanking class was perfect at doing it all, there would be absolutely no reason to have any other class as a tank.  If DKs were perfect, pallys, druid and warriors would all be obsolete.  Second, by having tanks that are better in one are and worse in others, it not only gives a variety for a player to choose to fit his/her play style, but this opens up the door for Blizzard designers to make mobs, bosses and everything in between different from each other.

For example, if a paladin goes in to tank a raid boss, he will do fine assuming that the player knows his class and how to play it.  Now, if the boss happens to have a mana drain ability, the paladin will find himself in trouble since he uses his mana pool for a good portion of keeping aggro. Here is where other tanks come in to play. Any other tanking class that is the second tank can step in and take control of the boss since they do not worry about mana.

For another example, send a warrior, DK or paladin tank in to a fight and they get disarmed, this will pose a large issue, as attacks tend to require that weapon to be in hand. How do you solve this?  Send in the bear.  You can’t disarm a bear tank.  For feral druids, weapons are nothing more then “stat sticks” and are not actually needed to be able to attack.

Now there are many many more examples I could go over, but I think you get the point. Each tank is designed to be able to deal with at least 1 situation far better then any other tank class. It is one of the many ways Blizzard keeps the door open for them to be more and more creative with boss fights.

Below I have put together a little diagram of where some of a tanks strong points are and some of the weak points are.  Now keep in mind that this in a normal situation and this does not cover every pro and con.

Warrior Tank: Good at single target tanking as they build up threat quickly in that aspect. They have very good mitigation and damage reduction abilities. However they can struggle generally with AoE tanking so this class would need to work harder to keep aggro on multiple mobs

  • Warrior Pros: Shields give a large addition to damage mitigation. Can recover quickly from a knock back with the use of charge. Can use Rallying Cry to temporarily increase the groups health if a fight starts to go wrong.  Is totally immune to mana burn since the class does not use mana. Can switch in to berserker or battle stance to dps in a one tank raid boss fight.
  • Warrior Cons: If disarmed, makes it almost impossible to generate threat. Must be careful of rotation so as to not run out of rage, no rage and you cannot generate threat.

Paladin Tank: Good at AoE tanking and have some very good damage mitigation abilities and self-heals. However, not as good at single-target tanking compared to all the other classes so you would need to have a good knowledge of a rotation designed for single targets.

  • Paladin Pros: Shields give a large addition to damage mitigation. Great ability for initial threat on multiple mobs. If disarmed, can switch to spell casting even tough less effective. Rage is never an issue as the class uses mana instead. Gets a damage buff when dealing damage to undead targets.
  • Paladin Cons: Knock backs are hard to over come with the lack of a charge. Mana burn will greatly affect the ability to hold threat on mobs/groups. If silenced, will not be able to use attacks/generate threat on a target.

Death Knight Tanks: Generally are also good at AoE tanking as well as good at single target tanking but do not have as much mitigation as the other classes. This forces this class to rely on spells that help to avoid damage or restore health more then other classes.

  • Death Knight Pros: Personal anti-magic shell helps to avoid magic damage, Bone armor act as a bubble reducing over all damage until it is absorbed. Deathgripmana burn as the class does not use mana.

  • Death Knight Cons: Does not use a shield and must make up damage mitigation in other ways. Being disarmed will cause a lack in threat generation. Knock backs are harder to over come as the class has no charge. Must carefully balance the use of runic power with available runes or you will end up sitting there waiting for the ability to use attacks.

Druid Tanks: Similar to DK tanks in that they can hold aggro well on AoE and single target tanking.  Damage mitigation and avoidance are much different for this class as they only have dodge to focus on instead of dodge and parry.

  • Druid Pros: Large health pool and high dodge rate helps greatly in survivability. Immune to polymorph, mind control and mana burns. Has talents to reduce greatly the time feared and knock backs are over come by using charge. Can double as dps on a one tank fight by switching in to cat form.

  • Druid Cons: Can be less healer friendly if dodge rating and health pool is not where it should be for content running. Must be careful to not run out of rage or tanking will be impossible.

With all this in mind, remember, trying to be the best tank in the game is a futile effort.  Don't try to be the best tank, be the best tank of your class.  This is a attainable goal where the other is not.  Good luck to all tank out here and keep up the good work.  After all, someone has to carry those lazy dps through places, right? (just kidding).

Monday, May 30, 2011

Always remember.....

Today, I'm just gonna make a short post here.  Today we celebrate Memorial Day.  Take some time to remember those that gave their lives to give you the freedoms you hold so dear.

Always remember that those men and women made the ultimate sacrifice for what they believed in, and for that, we thank them.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The power of the handy dandy addon....

If you have ever taken a moment to look over the addons on curse.com or wowinterface.com, you have probably been a touch overwhelmed by all the addons that are out there that are supposed to make playing easier in one way or another. With all the addons out there, what are some of the better addons for tanking and all around playing? How do I pick an addon?  How will I know if it's any good?  These are all valid questions, questions that I hear from guildies all the time. I have taken a my current tanking UI and will break it down as to what I use and why.  Maybe this will inform you of an addon that you have been looking for.  Maybe you don't run addons and wanna know how they work.  This should make things a bit clearer. Here is a screenshot of my current tanking UI:

click image to see a bigger view

Ok, now lets break this down in to its parts.  Below is a key.

click image to see a bigger view

1) BasicChatMod: This is a nice little addon to clear up your chat window.  It's also nice if you are lazy like I am and hate having to constantly type /o to talk in officer chat.  Once you enter a chat channel, you stay there until you enter a new one.

2) Bartender4:  This is a very nice way to organize your buttons and make things smoother and easier to organize.  Place any number of action bars anywhere on your screen.  Also allows you to move around your bags, menu bar and everything else.

3) Skada:  This is a nice alternative to Recount.  It will show you any information about the fight from dps to threat to CC broken and so on. Can be set for current fight or over all.  Since 4.1 dropped, I had nothing but trouble with recount, since I switched to Skada, I've never been happier with a meter since I used DiamondThreatMeter back in BC.

4) SexyMap: This is a nice addon that allows you to move your minimap to anywhere you wish.  It also allows you to give it a nice custom look, far nicer then the standard minimap.

5) Raven: This is a buff/debuff display addon.  You can create and move bars that show buffs, debuffs, timers and lots of other things.  Very handy in helping to keep your UI clean.

6) TitanPanel:  This is a nice little bar that sits at the top of your screen, it allows you to display brokers (addons that show things like gold, durability, latency, ect.) and make things far more organized and easier to see at a seconds notice. On TitanPanel, I currently run:
  • Currency - This will let you list right on the panel all your currencies, from gold to tokens to points.  Also lets you see what you have on other toons by just hovering over it.
  • CPU - Let you see what addons are running and how much memory each one is using. This is a great tool, if you are having lag issues suddenly, you can hover over this and see what is going on. See if an addon pulling more then it should.
  • DurabilityInfo - The name says it all, lets you know your current gear durability.
  • Volumizer - This allows you to adjust the volume for everything ingame.  No more having to go in to the sound menu and changing stuff for you.

7) TomTom: This is a simple coordinate addon.  It does have nice features such as you can place a "pin" on the map anywhere and you will get an onscreen arrow that will point you the way and how far you are away.  Arrow also works for quests that you are tracking as well as trying to find your way back to your corpse. 

8) DeadlyBossMod (DBM, not pictured): This is a must have to anyone running anything.  It gives you a nice heads up when bosses or mobs are about to do something you should really avoid/interrupt.  Also gives you timers for such things as boss enrage timers, time to next cast from boss, even battleground timers.

9) Altoholic (not shown): This addon lets you see what is on your other toons.  Now not just what they are wearing, but in their bags, bank, AH and you can also use it to look at your alts professions and even link them in chat without even logging out of your current toon. This is a very handy addon to have.

10) Addon Control Panel: This I HIGHLY recommend. This allows you to look at a list of ALL your addons, on or off.  You can turn some on and turn others off, click "reload ui" and POW! no more logging out to turn on or off addons.

11) CBH Viewer: This is what gives me the black gap at the bottom of my screen where all my stuff is.  This doe snot just give you a black area, it actually zooms the screen out, giving it a true widescreen feel to it.  this also allows you to see more and makes tanking a bit easier.

As you can see, I find that a clean UI is a huge benefit for tanking.  The more that you can see, the more control you have on a situation.  You will be less likely to be surprised by a stay mob walking around or miss that fire pillar until it hits you.

I hope these help out a bit and do you as much good as they have done for me. Remember, keep up the good work bears! We gotta show them how it's done!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Gemming and reforging feral tanks

One of the best things introduced in to WoW is being able to reforge your gear. Although a great tool, reforging is a bit of a tricky thing.  It fine tunes your gear, but the second that your gear changes, it becomes the first thing to change to rebalance everything. I have found through my time as a feral tank that reforging should go in the following order:

Expertise Soft-Cap > Hit > Dodge > Mastery > Crit > Haste

Now, lets make a couple of things more clear, this is the base diagram if you need EVERYTHING. Now, if you are at the expertise soft-cap and are hit capped, then you would start looking at dodge next.  Some will tell you that you need to only reforge in to dodge or some will say mastery. My experience has shown me that you will always get the best results by getting that expertise and hit up to where they should be.  Remember, if you can't hit them, you can't hold them and all the other stats seem to become meaningless. If you are not where you should be with hit or expertise, always reforge haste or crit in to the needed stat as these are the last stats you will ever need to worry about.

Gems are also a wonderful tool that Blizzard has given us.  It really can make all the difference if you add the correct gems to your gear.  Gemming should be done in the following priority:

Expertise Soft-Cap, Agility, Stamina, Mastery, Crit, Haste.

You might notice that hit is missing.  You should, as a general rule, avoid gemming for hit.  You can get this through gear, enchants or reforging. People will argue with me on this order, and I'm ok with that.  Everyone is allowed to have an opinion.  However, this order is what I have found works the best as a priority list. Remember, if you can't hit them, you can't hold them.  Secondly, you will have good amounts of stam on your gear as is, getting your dodge rating up should be the highest next priority next to hit and expertise. You won't need huge amounts of health if the mobs can't hit you.

Now the biggest discussion is always "should I got for the socket bonus?".  The answer is yes.....and no.  Let me explain, deciding on if you should go for the socket bonus is entirely based on your stats and what you really need. For example, if you are wearing:

Cuirass of Calamitous Fate
Binds when picked up
Chest Leather
1282 Armor
+120 Agility
+180 Stamina
O Yellow Socket
O Blue Socket
Socket Bonus: +12 Attack Power
Durability 165 / 165
Requires Level 80
Item Level 245
Equip: Increases your critical strike rating by 90 (1.96% @ L80).
Equip: Increases your haste rating by 90 (2.74% @ L80).

As a tank, you will most likely be able to make better use of this chest by tossing in agility and stamina gems.  You could toss in some multi stat gems to get the bonus, but to be honest the +12 attack power is just very much to make it very useful to a tank as opposed to the stats you'd get some solid color gems and forgetting about the bonus.

However, if you had:

Assassin's Chestplate
Binds when equipped
Chest Leather
1669 Armor
+321 Agility
+512 Stamina
Red Socket
Socket Bonus: +10 Agility
Durability 165 / 165
Requires Level 85
Item Level 359
Equip: Increases your hit rating by 173 (1.44% @ L85).
Equip: Increases your critical strike rating by 243 (1.36% @ L85).

You will every definitely want to put in an agility gem or expertise gem to get this bonus.  The bonus is a sizable plus in a a key tanking stat that it is worth getting.

I hope this helps out and answers some question.  If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to comment on here and I will asnwer them very quickly.

Remember bears, keep up the good work!  We have to show these other tanking classes how it's done!

Monday, May 23, 2011

So you need a good tanking weapon....

With some of the coming changes in patch 4.2, namely, the fact that Blizzard is moving druids away from using strength items.  Since these items will no longer hold any real benefit, some people may be a bit confused at to what a good weapon would be for a bear tank.

To ease this transition a little I've created a list of staffs throughout the game, jumping up 10 levels at a time, that would make the best choice for your bear.  Lets start at level 15 since that is when you get your bear form now.

At level 15:
Staff - Befouled Staff
obtain from the quest in Darkshore: A Cure in the Dark

  • Binds when picked up
  • Two-Hand Staff
  • 19 - 30 Damage Speed 3.10
  • (7.8 damage per second)
  • +1 Agility
  • +2 Stamina
  • Durability 45 / 45
  • Item Level 11
  • Sell Price: 3s 81c

At level 20:
Staff - Staff of the Green Circle
obtain from the lvl20 druid quest

  • Binds when picked up
  • Two-Hand Staff
  • 46 - 70 Damage Speed 3.30
  • (17.6 damage per second)
  • +5 Agility
  • +7 Stamina
  • Durability 75 / 75
  • Item Level 20
  • Equip: Increases your haste rating by 5 (2.17% @ L20).
  • Sell Price: 20s 93c

At level 30:
Staff - Loksey's Training Stick
Boss drop off Houndmaster Loksey in Scarlet Monastery Library

  • Binds when picked up
  • Two-Hand Staff
  • 71 - 108 Damage Speed 3.10
  • (29.0 damage per second)
  • +14 Agility
  • +7 Stamina
  • Durability 100 / 100
  • Requires Level 29
  • Item Level 34
  • Equip: Increases your critical strike rating by 5 (0.88% @ L29).

At level 40:
Staff - Chillwind Staff
Obtained from the quest in Western Plaguelands: Alas, Andorhal

  • Binds when picked up
  • Two-Hand Staff
  • 94 - 142 Damage Speed 3.30
  • (35.7 damage per second)
  • +12 Agility
  • +15 Stamina
  • Durability 100 / 100
  • Item Level 40
  • Equip: Increases your haste rating by 8 (1.39% @ L38).

At level 50:
Staff - Slavedriver's Cane
Boss drop off Ramstein the Gorger in Stratholme (servants gate/live side)

  • Binds when picked up
  • Two-Hand Staff
  • 110 - 166 Damage Speed 3.00
  • (45.9 damage per second)
  • +16 Agility
  • +16 Stamina
  • Durability 100 / 100
  • Requires Level 48
  • Item Level 53
  • Equip: Increases your hit rating by 16 (2.22% @ L48).

At level 60:
Staff - Ursol's Claw
Random chance to drop from the Reinforced Fel Iron Lockbox located at the end of Hellfire Ramparts Dungeon.

  • Binds when picked up
  • Two-Hand Staff
  • 165 - 249 Damage Speed 3.00
  • (68.9 damage per second)
  • +27 Agility
  • +52 Stamina
  • Durability 100 / 100
  • Requires Level 60
  • Item Level 85

At level 70:
Staff - Terestian's Stranglestaff
Random chance to drop off Terestian Illhoof: Karazhan (10 man BC raid)

  • Binds when picked up
  • Unique
  • Two-Hand Staff
  • 273 - 411 Damage Speed 3.00
  • (114.0 damage per second)
  • +37 Agility
  • +79 Stamina
  • Durability 120 / 120
  • Requires Level 70
  • Item Level 115
  • Equip: Increases your hit rating by 25 (1.69% @ L70).

OR...for non-raid drop weapon...

Staff - Fleshling Simulation Staff
Quest Reward from Netherstorm:  Nexus-King Salhadaar

  • Binds when picked up
  • Two-Hand Staff
  • 167 - 252 Damage Speed 2.40
  • (87.5 damage per second)
  • +27 Agility
  • +51 Stamina
  • Durability 100 / 100
  • Item Level 109
  • Equip: Increases your hit rating by 26 (1.96% @ L68).
  • Equip: Increases your expertise rating by 17 (5.13 @ L68).

At level 80:
Staff - Origin of Nightmares
Chance to drop off Grobbulus and Gluth: Naxxramas (25 man)

  • Binds when picked up
  • Two-Hand Staff
  • 391 - 587 Damage Speed 2.40
  • (203.7 damage per second)
  • 204 Armor
  • +100 Agility
  • +199 Stamina
  • Durability 120 / 120
  • Requires Level 80
  • Item Level 213

OR, for non-raid drop.....

Staff - Staff of Trickery
Chance to drop off Cyanigosa: Violet Hold (heroic)

  • Binds when picked up
  • Two-Hand Staff
  • 358 - 538 Damage Speed 2.40
  • (186.6 damage per second)
  • +89 Agility
  • +201 Stamina
  • Durability 120 / 120
  • Requires Level 80
  • Item Level 200

At level 85:
Staff - Malevolence
Chance to drop off Halfus Wyrmbreaker: The Bastion of Twilight (10man normal)

  • Binds when picked up
  • Two-Hand Staff
  • 1196 - 1796 Damage Speed 2.40
  • (623.3 damage per second)
  • +341 Agility
  • +512 Stamina
  • Durability 120 / 120
  • Requires Level 85
  • Item Level 359
  • Equip: Increases your critical strike rating by 228 (1.27% @ L85).
  • Equip: Increases your mastery rating by 228 (1.27 @ L85).

OR, for non-raid drop....

Staff - Jin'do's Verdict
Chance to drop off Jin'do The Godbreaker
  • Binds when picked up
  • Two-Hand Staff
  • 1556 - 2335 Damage Speed 3.30
  • (589.4 damage per second)
  • +323 Agility
  • +484 Stamina
  • Durability 120 / 120
  • Requires Level 85
  • Item Level 353
  • Equip: Increases your critical strike rating by 215 (1.20% @ L85).
  • Equip: Increases your mastery rating by 215 (1.20 @ L85).

Now I know what some of you are saying out there. "But I really like to use polearms.".  Well, that is all well and good, but since there are more staffs then polearms in game as a whole, it's generally best to focus on what will be over all easier to obtain.  Now this list is not the end all be all of list, there are staffs out there that are rare world drops (Braxxis' Staff of Slumber) and other items that you may come across that will work better for you.  This is simply a list of very good tanking weapons that are relatively easy to obtain and will easily get you through your next 10 levels.

Remember, keep up the good work bears!  We have to teach these other tanking classes how it's done!

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to comment and I will respond quickly.  If you enjoy this blog, don't be afraid to become a follower.

What we can expect at this point for feral druids in patch 4.2.

Well, it would seem that so far on the PTR, Blizzard likes us.  There are not to many changes for feral druids.  In fact, it seems that most of the feral changes are going to affect cats more then bears. The official patch notes for the PTR 4.2 state:

  • Ferocious Bite damage has been increased by 15%. In addition, its base cost has been reduced to 25 energy and it can use up to 25 energy, for up to a 100% damage increase.
  • Mangle (Cat) damage at level 80 and above has been increased to 530% weapon damage, up from 460%.
  • Ravage damage at level 80 and above has been increased to 975% weapon damage, up from 850%.
  • Shred damage at level 80 and above has been increased to 520% weapon damage, up from 450%.
  • Frenzied Regeneration's health bonus is now reduced by 50%.
  • Swipe (Cat) now deals 600% weapon damage at level 80 or higher, down from 670%.
  • Glyph of Berserk duration increase is now 10 seconds, up from 5.
  • Omen of Clarity clearcasting buff from now lasts 15 seconds, up from 8 seconds.

Look at these notes, the changes to Glyph of Berserk and Omen of Clarity are the only ones that really affect bears at all, and both of these are changes for the good. 

  •  First, I know that I'm not the only one that feels that getting an extra 5 seconds to really pound on mobs with Mangle is a good thing. Mangle does large amounts of damage and when you use Berserk, you hit 3 targets instead of 1.  How can this be a bad thing?  No way I can see, lol.
  • Second, the change to Omen of Clarity is a great one. Omen of Clarity reads:

Your damage spells and attacks have a small chance to cause you to enter a Clearcasting state. The Clearcasting state reduces the Mana, Rage or Energy cost of your next cast-time damaging or healing spell or offensive feral ability by 100%.

If specialized as a Feral Druid, Omen of Clarity will also have a chance to occur from your auto-attacks.

To add on to this timer is nothing short of awesome.  You now get more time to use this buff that makes your next attack cost no rage....ZERO!  I know that through my own experiences, it will in fact proc often from your auto attacks. Heck, I've had it proc just from changing in to bear form.  Come on, I get a free attack from the word go?  Thank you Blizzard, you must really like us, lol

The only changes that I am aware of that will be a change for some tanks is Blizzard making strength an undesired stat for us.  At the moment, 1 strength gives us 2 attack power.  This obviously has an advantage in threat since as you hit harder, you build more threat.  Blizzard wants us to focus more on stats like agility and get away form rolling on rings and other items that other tanking classes would use that have strength on them.  This is not a horrible thing they are doing.  Yes, some of us will be forced to make some changes in our gear, gems or enchants.  But with all the gear available in the game, and with the heads up you are getting now, you should b able to make yourself ready for the patch to hit.  The other is the changes to Frenzied Regeneration. Although this might seem like a large hit, but between glyphing in to it and the fact that it will still be a very viable resource in a pinch, I think that this will go almost completely unnoticed.

I'll keep you updated here on any ad all feral changes that come up on the PTR, until then...

Keep up the good work bears!  We gotta show those other tank classes how it's really done!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Druid lore 101: Bears

I'm big in to WoW lore, I love it.  There is so much storyline to the game in all the different area that I'm totally amazed.  The creators do a great job of giving the game an almost real world feel to it by adding in all this back story or "history" to the game.  You get a real feeling of continuity as you play if you take time and read the quests and listen to NPCs.

With all this lore, I thought I'd jump in to a little bit of Night Elf lore.  More to the point, Druid lore and how the bear form played a huge part in Azeroth and still does today.

Druids have played a large role in the history of Azeroth.  The first druid was *Malfurion Stormrage, taught by Cerarius, who is not only thought of as the most powerful druid in Warcraft lore, but one of the most powerful beings in all of Azeroth. Over years upon years, Malfurion taught some of the Night Elves the druidic ways.  How to harness the power of nature and how to take the forms of other beings in nature.  One of these forms was the bear form.  This form was thought of as one of the strongest and resilliant amoung the creatures that roamed Kalimdor. These druids, knows as the Druid of the Claw were a large help in the War of the Ancients during the first attack of the Burning Legion which lead to the Great Sundering that spilt the world continent in to what we see today.

Years after the Great Sundering, When the world tree Nordrassil was planted and the Night Elves were given the gift of immortaility and access to the Emerald Dream in order to protect Azeroth, Malfurion and other druids locked themselves away in many different barrow dens where they would sleep for centuries, protecting the world.

This would be short lived, by Night Elf standards, as the Burning Legion would once again threaten Azeroths very exsistance.  Awaken from the long slumber, the Druids of the Claw would take their fight to the Burning Legion and to Archimonde.  After the defeat of the Legion once again, the druids decided to remain in the waking world, feeling that so much damage had been done that the natural order of things itself had been scared.   

Seeking to heal the world around them, the Night Elves teamed up with the druids of the Tauren. Together they work to restore the balance of order on Azeroth.  Working for a common goal, the Night Elf and Tauren druids consturcted a druid sanctuatry in The Moonglade. Here, Tauren and Night Elves coexist peacefully, united by their reverence for the spirit of nature. Conflict between the races in Moonglade is not tolerated by its protectors. To the druids in The Moonglade, the Alliance and the Horde are of no concern to them.  They are druids first and foremost. 

If you are in to lore, RP or just really get in to your character, be proud of your druid.  Your druids history is one full of keeping the world safe.  If you are not, then I hope you enjoyed this little tidbit of geekdom where WoW is concered.

Remember, keep up the good work bear!  We gotta show those other tanking classes how it's done!

*Althought Tauren lore would have them believe that they were infact the first druids, A blizzard post back at the start of wrath stated that "The Taurens believe they were the first, the Night Elves WERE the first of the druids." A link to this post will be placed here once I find the post again. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Nice people make for a great run!

I decided to queue up for the new troll dungeons today.  I figured, it's late, I usually get pretty good groups this time of night.  As usual, as soon as I queued up, I get in to Zul Aman.  This is a fun dungeon, even back in the BC days, I loved this place.  Can give you a bit of a pain, but as long as you have a nice group, it's always fun.  It was myself (bear tank), a warlock, rogue, DK and shaman healer.  We go in and head for the first boss of the night, Akil'zon.  The gauntlet run went pretty smooth, no deaths, which is always good.  So we go up and we charge the boss, the dps down the birds that carry off party members, everyone did their job nicely.....until the storm came up.  As soon as we get the storm, we stacked up and the rogue and DK get insta-death.  No one had a clue what happened, but we killed the boss and moved on, slightly laughing it off. The warlock was kinda pushing us a bit for a timer run, which we rushed off trying to go for it.  

We start killing trash on our way to Nalorakk.  We get to the last set of trash and....I took one step too close.  Oh crap!  No time to CC so we try to burn them all with me holding everything, ouch......dead.  1 mass rez later and we are ready to try it again, timer gone, but no big deal.  We CC and kill that trash and pull the boss, fight goes off smoothly and he's one shotted.

Now we take off and head for Jan'alai and we go to do the first pull, to which the shaman forgets his CC mark and the DK spaces out....wipe.  But again, no one makes a big deal of it and we come back in and do it right.  We get to the last trash pull before the boss and we get 2, yes 2 flame casters in the group.  so we sap, hex and fear 3 mobs and kill 1, then we kill the fear.  I then target the sapped flame caster and charge in, the one I ran past, the hex, comes to and 1 shots the healer, well, we know what happens when the healer is down. lol.  We come back in and the shaman explains that he did not rehex because he saw me going for the flame caster.  The lock informs him that there were 2 and that sap is usually hit before hex because hex can be done in combat.  "Ohhh, crap, sorry. I noticed the name and didn't watch the mark.".  We all gave him a "eh, no big" and continued on one shotting the boss.

We move on to Halazzi and have zero issues and one shot him as well.  Hit Hex Lord  with a snake and demon out...HEX!  BANISH!  SMACK BOSS!  Dead boss, we win, loot!  Went off like perfection.  Meanwhile, we have been chitchatting the entire run.  Just talking about the instance, the gear that has been dropping.  We had a couple of agility BoE rings drop and I won one of them.  "Awesome, and to think I almost bought that 20 mins ago!" which lead to chuckles and talking about loot they had gotten in here in the same sort of conditions.

We get to the last boss and it started off great, adds dead, killing boss.  He changes in to the lynx form and starts beating on my hard, but we're ok.  He spawns 2 adds, I pick them up and start taking a bigger beating, but we are still ok.  I suddenly get 1 shotted, no idea why.  "SHIT! how?" had no sooner popped up in chat then I get a BRez from the lock!  YAY LOCK BATTLE REZ!!!  I pop back up, flip in to bear, pop everything I have to help bring back health while healer is healing,  I round back up the boss and adds, to which we kill the adds and he then switches to the dragonhawk form.  Ok, we got this going very well, killing him, no one standing in fire.....rogue lags for a sec, and that's all it took to kill him.  Boss drops, we cheer and rez while looting.  It was like we had just conquered a raid dungeon, it was not that hard, but we were having that much fun.  The healer then tells me that Not only am I the only tank that he ever ran with that picked up the cat adds, but that held aggro on them.  To which I replied "Thanks!  I do try my best.  after all, it is kinda my job. lol.". 

We all grats each other on a nice ran and after a bout 2 mins of more chitchat about the run, we begin to go our separate ways, actually saying good bye to each other.  It just goes to show you, you can have a run with some "oops" and a few " awww crap, my fault" times, but if you keep in mind that it is just a game and try to just have fun with it, every run can be a great one. Everyone makes mistakes and getting mad and blowing up at people only makes it worse.  I simple, "no prob, we now know NOT to walk up and say "Hi" to the flame casters."  can bring on a couple of laughs and make the run go far more smoothly and make the game over all more fun.

We all like glowing things, the trick is to find just the right glow....


The very concept of enchants escapes some people.  You know you have seen them, running Bastion of Twilight or some other raid or instance.  You look them over just out of curiosity and.....not a single enchant to be seen.  The very idea of not having enchants is bazaar to me.  I never understood it, you are literally cheating yourself and your group.  With out them, you are simply lacking and you could be doing so much more.  Some say, "But was it 80 attack power really going to do?  Probably not much.".  And sure, just 1 enchants won't do much.  But if you enchant everything, you will see huge changes for the good.  Try it, you will see and become a believer.

Since this my blog and I like to cover tanks, we will just focus on tanking enchants.  I'll cover all classes of tanks with some basic enchanting lists.  Since I wanna keep this a bit shorter them my last few blogs, I'll link the enchants instead of listing what they do.  Lets begin with....









Rings (if you're an enchanter)



As you can see, there are some differences and similarities as far as what the tanking classes need.  However, they all in fact NEED them.  To not have your gear enchanted, in my personal opinion, is wasting your time and the time of the others in your group.  If you can not afford to get the enchants listed, there are less expensive enchants that will work in their place until you can get the best for your gear. The stats of all these enchants put together will make a very large difference in how well you can do your job. 

Think of it this way, as you are charging in to grab a boss, you see the healer struggling to keep you and the group alive.  Now, you think back as you and the group are wiping that you noticed earlier that the healer had no enchants on his/her gear. Could that healer have had an easier time keeping the group alive had he/she taken the time to enchant their gear to get the best possible results?  You don't wanna be the one that causes a situation like that because you just didn't feel like it or never took the time.  Chances are, there is an enchanter in your guild that will be more them happy to help you out to get the enchants you need.  I know I help out my guildies all the time as well as a few other guild members.  If you wanna win, you gotta put your best foot forward, which includes......enchants.

Keep up the good work bears!  We gotta show those other tanking classes how it's really done!

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to comment below. Follow me here at the Challenging Roar for all the latest post full of helpful tips, tricks and experiences

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Feral tanking builds and other useful information...

If you are a feral tank, you know that there are a lot of different builds out there. Deciding what to put points in over something else can be tough and finding a build and the reason for that build is even harder, I know, I've had to deal with that for years. I'm going to go over my tanking build step by step and explain why I chose to put points where I did.  So, below is an image of my current tanking build...

level 85 feral druid tanking build

Ok, so lets go over this one step at a time shall we, starting with the feral tree

  •  2 points in Feral Swiftness because it gives you an extra 4% dodge in bear form, which adds to your avoidance which I spoke of my last blog.
  • 3 points in Furor. This gives you 100% chance to gain 10 rage when you shift in to bear form. This might nit sound like much, but if you are caught in a situation where a dps pulls a group and you are not ready yet, the second you get in to bear form, but once you get in to bear form and pop your enrage, you will have more then enough rage to start right off scrambling to get control of the situation.
  • 1 point in Infected Wounds.This is one is very nice as it reduced movement speed of the target, which is good, but we want it mainly for the fact that it decreases the attack speed of the target by 10%.  Why don't we put both points in here?  Simple, it does not affect bosses.  Every boss I have found is immune to this, so 1 point is fine for trash pulls.
  • 3 points in Fury Swipes as this gives you a 15% chance to deal an extra 310% weapon damage to the target.  This translates in to extra damage and extra threat generation.
  • 1 point in Primal Fury.  This is also a nice one as it gives you a 50% chance to gain 5 rage anytime you get a critical strike. More rage is always a big plus.
  • 2 points in Feral Aggression.  The main reason for this one is to make it easier to use Faerie Fire. In bear form, your Faerie Fire will automatically stack 3 time with one use.  Since it generates threat and does damage while in bear form, this is a very nice feature to have.
  • 3 points in King of the Jungle. Anytime you use enrage you will gain a 15% damage increase.  Now most people say, "but I really only use enrage before a pull to get up rage before I charge in.".  And that is fine.  You can use Enrage all the time it is off cooldown or just before a pull, either way, you will be getting a nice damage buff while it is up.  More damage means faster threat generation and a happy group.
  • 1 point in Feral Charge. This is a must have for all bear tanks.  Not only does it give you the ability to charge in the a group of mobs and start building threat on them quickly, but the stun that you get on the target you charge can play a very useful tool.  Say there is a group with a healer and 2 melee mobs, you charge in on the healer which stuns it for 4 seconds.  You swipe/thrash to hit the other mobs to get some threat generation up on them and focus on the healer with the dps.  You can have the healer dead before it comes out of the stun in many cases.  Just remember that this DOES NOT work on bosses.
  • 2 points in Stampede. This is the only real case where you will use haste.  It gives you a 30% haste buff after you charge a target for 8 seconds.  This plays in with the scenario described above in charge.
  • 3 points in Thick Hide. This is another needed stat for bear tanks.  It gives you an extra 10% armor on all cloth and leather gear as well as an additional 78% more armor while in bear form.  From what I have seen, this does in fact stack.  It also reduces the chances you will be critically struck by 6%, which is always nice. lol.
  • 1 point in Leader of the Pack. This is not only a nice group buff (giving the group or party an extra 5% critical strike), but it also causes you to regenerate 4% of your total health while in bear form. Now if you have 140,000 health, you will regenerate 5600 health about every 6 seconds or so.  Not too shabby for just being in bear form.
  • 2 point in Brutal Impact. This will increase how long your bash stuns a target by 1 second and decrease its cooldown by 10 seconds.  But the real reason you want this is the fact that 2 point here will decrease your skull bash/spell interrupt by 50 seconds.  This brings it down to only a 10 second cooldown and makes it far more useful.  This will also cause any target you hit with Skull bash to have their spells cost them 10% more mana, which a bit more of a PvP stat, but can come in useful on some boss fights.
  • 2 points in Primal Madness.  This will cause your Enrage and Berserk to instantly generate 12 rage.  As a rule of thumb, the more rage you can get, the more you can use to continue to build up threat as quick as you can.
  • 1 point in Survival Instincts. Since this reduces all incoming damage by 50%, this is a great ability to use if the healer is running low on manamana while you are only taking half the normal amount of damage.  This is also great for raids if you suddenly find yourself down to just 1 healer on a boss fight that will need to heal 9 other people by himself/herself.
  • 2 points in Natural Reaction.  This is another must have for bear tanks.  Reduces damage taken by 12%, increases dodge by 6% and you regenerate 3 rage ever time you dodge an attack while in bear form.  There is nothing here in the talent that is a bad thing.  Everything here is designed to boost your damage mitigation and avoidance. To not put both points here is to be cheating yourself of buff that will help you be a better tank.
  • 3 points in Rend and Tear. This will increase the damage done by your maul by 20% to a target you already have a bleed affect on.  If you look through your attacks, you will see you have a few attacks that cause a bleed affect.  Extra damage is always good.
  • 1 point in Pulverize. This is a nice item to have in your abilities list.  Deals 80% weapon damage plus 361 damage for each lacerate you have up on a target.  It also increase the critical strike chance of lacerate by 3% per application.  This means that if you stack 3 lacerates up on a target, and you use Pulverize, you will not only do the 80% extra weapon damage and the 1083 damage (361x3), but all 3 of those lacerates have a 3% chance to crit as they are absorbed by the Pulverize.  The damage output on this can be very high.
  • 1 point in Berserk. This is a one of my favorites.  It gives your lacerate a 50% chance to refresh the cooldown of your mangle AND make t cost no rage.  That that is without even using the ability yet.  When you use Berserk, your mangle will now hit up to 3 targets and have no cooldown for 15 seconds.  This is a HUGE threat generator.  It's great for boss pulls in heroics where threat can be an issue or in raid boss fights when Heroism/bloodlust/timewarp/Ancient Hysteria is used, allowing your to generate threat faster then the dps are with the huge buff they get.
Now on to the Resto tree.

  • 2 points in Natural Shapeshifter.  This will reduce your mana cost of changing in to bear for by 20%.  This is not a bad talent to have as you always have the ability to use your mana in fights, more in raids then dungeons.  On a boss fight where you tank swap, if the dps has some low health, you can always pop tranquility to help out a bit before still having enough mana to pop in to bear form to taunt the boss off the other tank.  Or even tossing a battle rez and an innervate to a dead healer when you have a chance.  Saving 20% mana on shapeshifting can help out int he long run.
  • 3 points in Heart of the Wild.  This will increase your stamina by 6% in bear form.  Pure extra health.
  • 2 points in Perseverance.  Now a lot of tanks don't put points here and I don't understand why.  This reduces all spell damage taken by 4%.  Now, your normal avoidance is nice, but this will give you an edge because in my experience normal avoidance does not work perfectly against spells.  Here you have a chance to boost that ability to take less damage by instantly decreasing any damage from spells by a full 4%.  If fireball comes flying at you to do 30,000 damage.  With this talent, when it hits you, it will only do 28,800.  Add in any other damage reducers and your are taking far less damage.
I was going to go over glyphs, enchants,. gems and reforging for feral tanks, but I think that this blog is long enough as is for now. lol.  That stuff will have to wait until my next blog.  Until then, keep up the good work bears and remember we have to teach these other tank classes how tanking is really done!

Don't forget, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to comment.  If you enjoy the Challenging Roar, please become a follower so you can keep up on all the blogs here.

I don't believe in stam stacking. There, I said it, now lets move on.....

Ok, so let me be a bit more clear about the title, lol.  I've been a bear tank for a very long time.  I've seen bears go through major trends, on more then off, of stacking stamina over any other stat.  Many tanks will argue that by "stam stacking" it gives them a lot more survivability in raids and dungeons.  That having more health makes it easier on healers to keep them alive.  I feel that they could not be more wrong, and let me explain why I think this (please remember, this is what I have found, this is not hard facts, just what I think works better).

First, by stacking stamina, yes, you have far more health and it does in fact give the healers a lot more time to get off a heal before your health pool is empty.  However, healers, no matter what Blizzard or any forums posts say, have a need to keep your health bar as full as possible at all times in a fight.  By having a huge health pool, you are still taking large chunks of damage and thus, more mana is used to keep you up. This can be a very bad thing as healers can tell you.  Here's a little secret, *looks around to see if anyone is listening*, if healers run out of mana, you get no heals.  lol.

Ok, now, on the opposite end of this, if you stack other stats totally over stamina, you will have a much smaller health pool and thus make it hard for the healers to keep you up.  The trick it to find a nice balance of stats to make the healers life easier.  Remember, the best thing for a tank is to take your epeen and throw it away.  Epeens only end up causing problems, espeically for tanks and healers.  Now, the tricky part is to remember, you need to have some stats over any other stat regardless of how you feel.  Here is my breakdown of stats and the order I feel that should be dealt with.

Hit Rating - 961 or 8% hit  is needed for raid boss or 721 hit for heroic 5-man boss. That is the long and the short of it.  Now, I have found that there is leeway here. If you go in to a raid with 5%, you will notice a huge problem in threat, you won't produce enough.  If you go in with 7.5%, you will usually be just fine. But the closer to 8% you are, the more threat you will be able to generate and the happier your group will be.

Expertise - The soft cap is 26 expertise or 781 rating. This soft cap is a MUST!  I can't express this enough as I see so many tanks below the soft cap and pay the price.  What is the price you ask? Hit rating is great to hit the boss, but think of expertise and "The Force".  It allows you to predict when a mob/boss is about to dodge or parry your attack and allows you to counter act it and still hit him. Now granted that this is all just numbers in the system and there is no thought involved in the counter action.  However, as you can see, being able to not be dodged or parried will also help you to gain maximum threat generation.

Dodge Rating - This to me is far more important then stamina.  This is a major part of your avoidance/not taking damage.  The less damage you take, the happier the healers will be with you. Now, as I stated earlier, you should not focus solely on this stat as a way to be "WINNING!!!".  You will need to balance this stat with stamina.  I have however found through trial and error that this stat is a very good one to improve over stamina at first. I usually shoot for a dodge rating of atleast 30%, in bear form, before I start tossing in a few stam gems in my gear.  Now, your best way of getting dodge is to grab as much agility as you can.  Dodge just gives you dodge rating, but agility gives you 2 AP while in form, 1% Crit per 324.85, 1% Dodge (pre-DR) per 243.58.  So you can see that agility is a far more helpful stat then straight dodge.

Stamina - Stamina, this is what I consider to be a tricky stat.  Every tank out there will tell you that having a large health pool feels good, that it helps you to feel like you can do about anything.  This is totally not the case.  If you have a huge health pool and little avoidance/damage mitigation, you will likely drop like a sack of potatoes very quickly, no matter how good the healer is. Once I got my dodge rating up to 30%, I worked on getting my stamina up so that I had a health pool of about 138k health in bear form.  Now I know that this does not seem like a lot, but remember, the more you avoid taking damage, the less health you need to stay alive.

Mastery - This is a very good stat to work on next.  This is your damage mitigation stat.  This stats works with your Savage Defenses.
Savage DefenseEach time you deal a non-periodic critical strike while in Bear Form, you have a 50% chance to gain Savage Defense, absorbing damage equal to 35% of your attack power for 10 sec.).  

Your mastery for bears reads "Increases the damage absorbed by your savage defense ability by 32%. Each point of Mastery increases the absorb by an additional 4%.".  So as you can see, this brings a very nice amount of damage mitigation to the table.

Critical Strike - Crit, well, this is purely a threat stat.  The harder you hit them, the more threat you generate.  It's much like when dps have huge crits and you can see them climbing the threat meters quickly.  It works the same for you.  Although this is a nice stat for threat, it is the second to last you wanna work on.

Haste - This is a stat you DO NOT want. Any and all haste should be reforged in to dodge rating. For a tank, it's not how fast you can hit them, it's all about generating threat through avoiding damage and other attacks in your arsenal to generate the threat.

Now, through my personal experiences, I have found that if you follow this guideline, you will find that feral tanking will go far smoother then most would lead you to believe. Remember, avoidance is a huge part of staying alive, not just your health pool.  The more damage you can avoid/mitigate, the less damage you will take, the happier your healer will be and the more confident you will be since you will tend to find healers saying how easy you are to heal.

Next post I'll talk about the current tanking build and glyphs as well as enchants for tanking.

Keep up the good work bears and remember, we gotta show those other tank classes how tanking is really done!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Can we go?

So I queued up for a nice heroic run today after having several successful and fun runs (I know, can you believe it.) and I got in to Lost City.  I like this place, I like the pulls, I like the bosses and even the layout.  It's one of my favorite dungeons in Cataclysm.  However, there always ends up being 1 thing that makes a nice set of runs stumble a bit.  Today it was a frost DK that queued in a dps.  Now mind you, there is nothing wrong with them at all.  I like DKs, but this guy started off the run with a bang.  After he "accidentally auto ran" in to the first pull while the healer was still buffing up, the healer asked for a moment to turn off some addons due to bad lag.  No problem, I perfect the healer to be healing me when I need it, not 3 seconds after I needed it, lol.  So the healer goes offline to turn off stuff and about 5 seconds later we get, "This should not be taking this long." from the DK.  I though, wow really?  This from the person that pulled the first group with his/her face is now complaining?  After a couple more complaints about "how long this is taking"  which was only about 2 mins by this time, I kindly said "Feel free to bail if it's taking too long.".

OMG, you'd think that I just killed his family.  Starts talking in chat about how rude that was and whispering me about how rude I am and that that was totally uncalled for.  I responded that I was only being honest and if we were taking too long, then maybe he would be happier in a different group.  The hunter in my group then chimed in with "Well, impatience is rude as well.".  I love that guy, he's a good friend and guildie and doesn't usually say anything unless it is really deserved.  by this time, the healer has come back online, apologized again having to turn stuff off and was obviously a bit shocked what he came in to. I had to pst him to let him know that it was really not his fault, the DK was just out of line and no one else minded. Finally, we started back up and were on our way.

After 1 boss fight, the DK makes fun of the hunter and laughs at him because he lost a roll on a polearm to me.  My bud and I laughed about it abit in pst and just moved on.  But after the 2nd boss kill, the DK began to talk to us as if we had known him his entire life and were interested in everything he had to say.  He began talking about the nachos he was eating and other odd bits about his life and what was going on.  This totally through us off as a bunch of "????" started flying though whispers.  We get to the last boss and the DK dies almost right away from standing in the green swirls that usually mean "don't stand here or you die", you know, standard Blizzard meanings.  We down the boss and rez the DK while we loot.  No sooner is he up then he drops group.  not a "thanks",  "bye", "get bent", "you guys suck"....nothing.  At the very least, this gave me a great subject to put here in my blog.  I just don't understand people like this.  Starts off a total PITA and by the end acts like nothing ever happened and everything it happiness and light.  Talk about deserving of the "insane" title.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Ok, so where is the bears archaeology item?

I was going through the list of items you can make through archaeology in wow and I noticed something.  Besides all the really nice and fun items you can get, including a very awesome AQ style bug mount, I noticed there were tanking items on the list.  The 2 handed sword Zin'Rokh is an amazing Death Knight tanking weapon and the Extinct Turtle Shell is great for Warriors and Paladins.  So where is the great bear item?  Unless I am missing something, which is entirely possible, there isn't one. I was very disappointed about this.  Looks like for the moment, bears get the shaft again. However.....

Here is my idea to fix this.  Give us a weapon that will be perfectly suited for almost primarily bears.  A new weapon that will strike fear in the hearts of our enemies and cause people to write songs about us.  Blizzard, give us......The Scythe of Elune!  It has been lost to history forever, an amazingly powerful weapon used by druids ages past to try to help "lost" druids only to result in the formation of the Worgen race.  This to me makes it a perfect item for bear tanks.  Other races could in fact use it as hunters and a few others tend to like the same stuff bears do.  This would make it so that others could make use of the item which would make it a good archaeology item.  I feel that it is time to bring the Scythe of Elune back in to being, and what better way then through archaeology!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Bear tanks are back baby.....

So as many feral tanks can tell you, when we got patch 4.0, a lot of changes were made to bears. They removed the ability to spam swipe, which was great for rounding up lots of mobs, by giving it a 6 second cooldown.  This felt odd to me as I also had a Death Knight Tank and a low level pally tank.  Both of these tanks still had very nice AoE attacks that they could use, some in a short rapid fire style, while the bear lost its good AoE attack for the most part. They changed talent around in the trees and just generally made it a totally different game for feral tanking. Sure we were still bears and had large health pools, but so much had changed that a lot of us felt that that's all we had going for us.  Many I had talked to then and now, as well as myself, felt that with all these changes and after trying to make them work for some time, felt it was time to hang up the tank gear and play a new spec.  Most seemed to go in to the balance tree while there were some that went in to the resto tree (lol, resto tree.).

But, with the coming of patch 4.1, feral tanks got a few needed changes.  One of the more notable was swipe, Blizzard dropped it's cooldown from 6 seconds to 3.  This might not sound like much, but with Thrash, a second AoE attack still on it's 6 second cooldown, this gave us a nice stagger to any need to use AoE hits to hold stray mobs.  They also did a major overhaul to our damage mitigation mechanics as stated in the official 4.1 patch notes:

"Savage Defense has been redesigned slightly. Instead of a single charge absorption, it now places an absorption effect on the druid absorbing up to 35% of the druid's attack power (modified by mastery, if applicable) in damage and lasting 10 seconds. There are no longer any charges on the effect."

To me, the charging effect was a real pain.  With this new setup, it makes it nice ans smooth and, as most healers will say they like it, predicable.  Giving the healer predicable about a damage incoming is a good thing as is reduces the amount spiky damage and the amount of "OMG, I CAN'T HEAL FAST ENOUGH!!!!" situations.

I think I can speak for most druid tanks when I say thanks you Blizzard for listening to us.  We love being bears, we love getting smashed in the face as we protect our groups.  We really missed it and I for one and very glad that we got some changes made to the spec which gives us a more viable feel and place in the tanking world. As many people I know have noticed, bears kinda dropped off the face of Azeroth shortly after the big changes took place.  However....

Bear tanks are back baby!!!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Life Happens....

I just wanted to take a moment to apologize for the lack of posts for the last couple of days.  I've been dealing with my fathers health and going back and forth to the hospital.  He is fine now and all settled back in at his home and doing well.  I also wanna take a moment to say that I have great guildies!  I'm currently the only reliable tank in the guild and everyone has been totally understanding about me not being available the last few days and been very supportive. It makes this game great when you get to play with such good people.

Monday, May 2, 2011

If you don't know, just ask.

So I'm sure you have all had this situation happen, probably in the same place too.  I get in to a group for H Blackrock Caverns, not my favorite place but not too bad (just glad it wasn't Grim Batol).  Kill the first trash, down the first boss pretty easy.  All is going nice and smooth.  We kill the next trash, still smooth.  Now we are at the next boss.  I have the rogue block the middle beam, feral druid block the right and mage the left while I tank the boss between the rogue and druid cat.  I always make sure to ask "Everyone know what to do with their target?" to which the healer replied "Ummm, heal him?" ( I love a touch of comedy in a run, lol). I got a yes across the board so  I made the pull and everyone jumped in to position quickly.  Interrupting the fear and doing good so far......until the druid turns in to a giant freakin mob bent on killing us, followed by the rogue.  Ok, we all come back in, rebuff and remark the mobs.  I charge in, position the boss........giant freakin mobs, again.  Come back in, rebuff, remark, charge in......HUGE BEAR KILLING MOBS.....AGAIN!!!!!!   After every wipe, there are a ton of excuses from "I don't know what happened, I was right there." to "I was feared" (which could account for 1 mob, not 2).  So we come back in and I, as nicely as I can being as how the cat was a guildie of mine and having the GM going off on you is usually a bad thing, I like to keep it down as much as I can, say, "ok, just so we are all on the same page, block beam until you get 70-80 stacks of debuff, get out of beam, wait for debuff to tick off, get back in beam, rinse & repeat.".  Everyone says "ok", so we rebuff and I remark.  I make sure everyone is ready and then I charge in as I have done for several tries.....and what do you know, we down her with no effort at all.

Look people, if you don't know the detail of a fight, just ask. If you are afraid you will look dumb because you don't know, you will look even worse after you have killed you party members. People don't mind filling you in about the details of a fight, not everyone has done them all.  But people get a bit mad having to spend gold on repairs that could have been prevented had you just said something, not to mention wasted gold on any food, pots or elixirs that were used and wasted on a fight that ended in death due to lack of knowledge. So please, for the love of all that is good and right in this world.....

If you don't know, just ask.